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ARMY OF ONE: For his show at Pitti Uomo in Florence, men’s designer Thom Browne conceived a tightly synchronized and hyper-condensed day in the life of an office drone, circa 1955. Forty models, moving in unison, typed at identical desks, ate identical lunches, and…wait for it…wore the exact same outfit. Forty of them. For the largely European audience, Browne opted to show his greatest hits — a shrunken gray suit, cardigan with arm stripes, heavy wing tips and camel overcoat. “In the beginning it was the gray suit, and that’s how every collection starts. So I wanted people to see an army of that. This is what my guy does. He gets dressed and looks good, and he’s serious about work.” The show epitomized the influential designer’s perversely businesslike aesthetic.

This story first appeared in the January 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

COP OUT?: Does Puig have its eye on Louis Vuitton design wiz Peter Copping? According to sources, Mario Grauso, president of Puig Fashion Group, has met recently with Copping, a key and seasoned talent under Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs. As reported, Nina Ricci’s contract with Olivier Theyskens expires later this year and could be renegotiated and extended — or not. But it is understood Grauso could also be on the lookout for talent for Puig’s other main fashion concern, Carolina Herrera. Neither Grauso nor Copping could be reached for comment.

RISING STAR PRESENTERS: Fashion Group International confirmed more presenters for its 12th Annual Rising Star Awards. Phillip Lim will present the Rising Star Award for women’s ready-to-wear, and Paul Morelli will do the honors for the fine jewelry category. They join such presenters as Jane Lauder, Amy Synott, Chris Madden, Barbara Hulanicki and Ann Watson that day.

The luncheon and awards ceremony will take place at the Rainbow Room on Jan. 29.

FANCY FOOTWORK: Dolce & Gabbana is kicking off the Milan men’s wear season in more ways than one. Not only are the designers showing their top collection Saturday, they have also extended invitations to a lucky few, including editors and close friends of the house, to watch David Beckham play for the AC Milan soccer club at San Siro later that night. The designers plan to welcome guests at the stadium in a private box, with Victoria Beckham leading the cheering squad.

HAUTE HEELS: Tod’s superluxe project is still haute but it won’t be couture. A Tod’s spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday the Italian luxury shoe and leather goods label plans to launch a high-end line of footwear and accessories during Milan Fashion Week in February, and not Paris couture later this month, as previously reported. The as-yet-unnamed line, which is being overseen by Tod’s creative director Derek Lam, will feature 15 styles and hit stores from March. Prices were not disclosed.

BODY WARMTH: New Yorkers have found a new way to battle frigid nighttime temps: jam-packed store parties. Tuesday night, the West Broadway Elie Tahari boutique was so full of people — there to help kick off the Winter Antiques Show’s Young Collector’s Night on Jan. 29 — that waiters passing tuna carpaccio hors d’oeuvres could barely navigate the crowd. Hosts Rory and Elie Tahari certainly enjoyed the location choice — they live just around the corner. We walked here,” said Rory, adding of her husband, “I call him ‘Mr. SoHo.’ ” A window display in the front of the store showcased furniture (all for sale) from the gallery Antik, whose Scandinavian pieces will be exhibited at the Winter Antiques Show; in the back guests like Jackie Astier and Lara Meiland milled around the bar.

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE: Rips and piercings could be the order of the day at Dior Homme during men’s fashion week in Paris — or at least the soundtrack might suggest so. Word has it Dior Homme designer Kris Van Assche has commissioned an exclusive original mix by the godfather of punk himself, Malcolm McLaren.

HEAD TO TOE: Church’s, the traditional British footwear brand owned by Prada, has expanded its product offering beyond just shoes. The new product range for gents, which was unveiled at Pitti Uomo in Florence, includes silk ties, cashmere scarves, blankets, small leather goods and an umbrella. The new “lifestyle” category also boasts the brand’s first apparel. Two Church’s sweaters and a waterproof trench were also making their debut alongside the label’s core footwear offering at the stand. The fair wraps up its four-day run on Friday.

CHILD’S PLAY: Upmarket French brand Bonpoint hopes it’s in the running to dress the White House’s smaller residents-to-be for the presidential inauguration ceremony next Tuesday, according to a Bonpoint spokeswoman, who said a day and evening look for each of the Obama daughters have already been delivered to the family. The designs include a balloon-sleeve gray velvet day dress and wool coat for Malia Obama, 10, with a blueberry-hued velvet dress and Bordeaux tweed coat for her little sister Sasha, 7, followed by cotton satin frocks for the evening — in cream for Malia and anthracite gray for Sasha — embroidered with semiprecious stones at the neckline. “We know we’re in competition with a lot of brands, likely most of them American,” said the spokeswoman.

DKNY GETS LEVI’S: When Donna Karan opened her DKNY brand back in 1989, it all began with a pair of jeans. To celebrate 20 years of DKNY, it seemed fitting for the designer to partner with a denim icon — Levi’s. So for spring — hitting stores in just a few weeks — DKNY has teamed up with Levi’s to create three styles of jeans: a wide leg, skinny and boyfriend style. Each style is available in a variety of washes from dark and light blue to white and black. “For our 20th birthday we wanted to celebrate this milestone with a unique American icon,” said Patti Cohen, executive vice president of global marketing and communications at Donna Karan International. The Levi’s for DKNY jeans will retail for $225, and have been picked up by Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s.


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